It’s possible that you have worked very hard to find just the right job for you. You might have already experienced work that you weren’t suited to, where you didn’t gel with team, or didn’t believe in the product. Once you’ve had a poor experience you tend to know what ‘good looks like’ when you get a job that works for you. You might want to congratulate yourself and never look for another job again. But I urge you not to. In fact, I strongly encourage you to go and get another job on top of the one that you have.
I am a big advocate of the ‘and’ job. Even if you’ve got the most amazing day job with super opportunities and great training and development, getting another job will super charge your work more than you thought possible. I’m not talking about moonlighting, or setting up some sort of crazy job share where you’re running between jobs, I’m talking about taking a voluntary position. Becoming an adviser. A Trustee. A supporter. A carer.
There are a wide variety of roles available that can be tailored to the amount of time you are able to give. And whilst you will start by thinking that you’re the one ‘giving’, I guarantee that the transaction won’t be one-way. I can think of no better way to learn, to grow your skills, to develop your knowledge, or reinforce your humility and gratitude than by supplementing your day job with another one.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
A friend of mine took a role as a befriender to a local older person. The demand on her time wasn’t huge. In fact, she just needed to turn up and talk for a couple of hours most weeks. What she actually got was a small space in her week to share what she’d done with someone who was listening. To talk with no strings attached. Even, to get some very sage advice from someone who had a lot of experience to draw upon. She’s a busy working mum with a mountain to climb every time she walks through the door to the office or her home. The sanctuary she experienced on her visits was a real and unexpected gift, giving her clarity to take to her day job and new reserves of patience for at home.
Or my own experience as a Trustee. I volunteer as a board member at a national charity. I give my time, my skills, and my enthusiastic support (especially on marathon day!) throughout the year. What I thought I would get in return is exposure to operating at Board level to help my career. Which I definitely got.
But what I really value, is working with and learning from people who are very different to me and my regular colleagues. Amazingly we’re an all-female team at the top – CEO, Chair and me as Vice-Chair are all women. In my male dominated workplace I have never experienced that dynamic, and have very few senior women role models to look to.
My in-work work is rapid pace, test and learn, fail fast mentality. My out-of-work work is focused on nurturing and supporting premature and sick babies and their families. To say that we’re considered, risk-adverse and cautious almost goes without saying. It’s a completely different (and just as valid) way of working. It challenges me to adapt my style, to communicate and negotiate differently, to respect other very different viewpoints. No course or length of time in my current role could teach me these things as effectively.
So you see my point is that no matter how fabulous your job is and no matter how many times you tell yourself that you don’t have the time to commit to an ‘and’ job, the value that you will get from it will more than pay you back for the investment you make.